Build a Latticework of Models

It’s important to have a broad range of mental models or else, you risk becoming the man with a hammer who sees nail everywhere.

Charlie Munger stresses the importances of having a broad thinking toolbox that helps you maintain grip on reality. He suggests students to explore mental models & concepts in every discipline that have proven to be useful and understand them so thoroughly that they become part of our thinking.

“Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience, both vicarious and direct, on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.” — (Munger 1994)

And by taking smart notes in your slip-box, you’re building your own latticework of models, while growing & evolving alongside with it.

“When we delegate the storage of knowledge to the slip-box and at the same time focus on the principles behind an idea while we write, add and connect notes, when we look for patterns and think beyond the most obvious interpretation of a note, when we try to make sense of something, combine different ideas and develop lines of thought, we do exactly that: we build up a “latticework of mental models” instead of just “remembering isolated facts and try and bang ’em back.” – Sonke Ahrens

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